Glossary - Food Ingredients

Please use the following list of terms as a reference for our food ingredients.

Starch - Starch is a carbohydrate polymer made up of glucose units linked together by alpha-1,4 and alpha-1,6 bonds. It is the main storage form of carbohydrates in plants and can be deposited as tiny granules in the stems (pith), roots, seeds and fruits. The granules are small grain-like particles in which starch molecules are deposited and stored by plants. In the case of wheat, corn or rice, the starch granule is located in the endosperm of the seed. In general, starch is made up of two glucan fractions, amylose and amylopectin, that differ in proportion depending on the botanical source. Some starch sources contain approximately one hundred percent amylopectin such as those from waxy corn, wheat, barley, rice, potato or sorghum. Others contain fifty percent or more amylose as in high amylose corn or barley. Starch is a partially crystalline polymer that can be modified physically, chemically and enzymatically to alter its properties. Starches sold in commerce are principally derived from cereal grains (corn, wheat, rice), roots/tubers (potato, tapioca) and pulses (pea).

Wheat Starch - Wheat starch is the predominant component of wheat grain (approximately seventy-five to eighty percent), where it is present in the endosperm part, with protein as the second most abundant component. Starch is isolated from wheat flour by wet-processing that takes advantage of the dispersibility of starch in water and the dough-forming ability of the protein component (gluten). Dried wheat starch is characterized by its bright white color. The granules contain two granule populations: small granules averaging around 5 microns and large granules averaging around twenty microns. While the small granules outnumber the large granules, by weight, the large granules represent around seventy-five to eighty percent of the total and the remaining twenty to twenty-five percent consists of small granules. Wheat starch possesses a unique combination of properties that are related to its color, purity, paste viscosity, texture and gel strength.

Resistant Wheat Starch - Resistant wheat starch is an amylase-resistant starch from wheat belonging to RS4-type classification. It is manufactured by modifying wheat starch with a combination of sodium trimetaphosphate and sodium tripolyphosphate present in an approximate weight ratio of 99:1 and at suitable reaction conditions of time, temperature and pH and in the presence of salt (sodium sulfate). The reaction involves the introduction of numerous phosphate cross-linking bonds with proportionately lower level of substituting phosphate bonds. As a result, the Resistant wheat starch has restricted swelling even after cooking or heat treatment. Analysis by AOAC Method 991.43 gives at least 85 percent total dietary fiber (dry basis). The mechanism of resistance to enzyme digestion may be explained by the markedly reduced ability to form enzyme-starch complex due to steric hindrance by phosphate groups. Resistant wheat starch is primarily used in foods for fiber fortification and caloric reduction.

Modified Cook-Up Wheat Starch - In the U.S., modified starch for food applications is regulated by FDA under Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations Part 172.892. These regulations specify the chemicals, combination of chemicals, levels of chemicals and residual chemicals or functional groups during modification reactions. For example, after modification of wheat starch, the product is washed to get rid of salts and un-reacted chemicals. The purified wheat starch stream can be dried using a flash dryer or a spray dryer and the resulting dried powder is called modified cook-up wheat starch. For its end-use food applications, Modified cook-up wheat starch is normally heated (or cooked, baked, fried, retorted, etc.) in the presence of other ingredients to yield the finished food products. Their typical functions in foods include thickening, binding, adhesion, moisture retention or crisping agent.

Modified Instant Wheat Starch - After modification of wheat starch using chemicals approved under 21 CFR 172.892, the product is washed to get rid of salts and un-reacted chemicals. The purified wheat starch stream can be heat-processed (gelatinized or cooked) using drum driers, extruders, jet cookers or spray cookers and the resulting dried powder is called modified instant wheat starch. For its end-use food applications, modified instant wheat starch does not require cooking and will instantaneously hydrate into a paste upon mixing with water. Bakery batters (cakes and muffins) are examples of applications of modified instant wheat starch where its instantaneous hydration and thickening abilities are important during processing and end-product quality. Its water binding capacity and moisture retention properties are important in prolonging the soft texture of bakery products.

Protein - A protein is a polymer of amino acids linked together by peptide bonds. There are approximately twenty amino acids that constitute the backbone of proteins. Commercial sources of protein include those derived from milk, eggs, oilseed (soy), pulses (pea), and grains (wheat, corn). In the case of wheat, protein contains high levels of glutamine followed by proline and leucine. Wheat (gluten) proteins are considered unique because of its ability to form a viscoelastic dough when mixed with water. The viscoelasticity is attributed to a proper balance of gliadin and glutenin, the two major fractions that make up wheat gluten. Gliadin is responsible for cohesiveness and extensibility of hydrated gluten and glutenin imparts elasticity. Wheat gluten is the only naturally-occurring protein that exhibits this unique property.

Textured Wheat Protein - Various plant proteins can be texturized to impart desired characteristics for snack food and cereal products, and also to mimic the properties of real meat (beef, pork, poultry and seafood) using different processes such as spinning, jet-cooking, steam treatment and extrusion cooking. Among these processes, extrusion has been the preferred technology. Textured wheat protein is produced utilizing twin-screw extrusion technology. This method uses a proprietary mix of wheat gluten and other processing additives to yield customized products that differ in size, shape and color. While textured soy protein is considered to be the dominant product for meat extension and vegetarian products, textured wheat protein is gaining notoriety for its improved taste and textural properties in these applications, as well as in snack and cereal innovations.

Wheat Protein Concentrate - Isolation of wheat proteins starts with wet-processing of wheat flour where the protein component exists as a doughy, viscoelastic mass and the starch component exists as an aqueous dispersion. Passing through suitable screens or by using centrifugal action can successfully separate the protein from starch. Purification of the protein stream from remaining non-protein components yields a product that can be dried using a flash drier or a spray drier after appropriate dispersion of the protein. The resulting dried powder with around seventy-five percent protein (N x 5.7, dry basis) is classified as wheat protein concentrate. In some instances, other wheat protein concentrate products can be produced by the addition of suitable functional additives during the protein dispersion step prior to spray drying as discussed above. Uses of wheat protein concentrate include bakery products, Asian noodles and other processed foods.

Wheat Protein Isolate - Wet-processing of wheat flour yields two important co-products: starch and gluten (protein). Wheat gluten (also known in commerce as vital wheat gluten) typically contains seventy-five percent protein (dry basis) and is classified as a wheat protein concentrate. Further processing of this gluten, either by mechanical means or solubilization in the presence of processing aids followed by centrifugation or filtration, typically yields a higher protein product (approximately ninety percent, dry basis) using a nitrogen conversion factor of 6.25. Due to elevated protein content, the product is classified as a wheat protein isolate. Different versions of wheat protein isolates can be manufactured that have varied elastic and extensibility properties after hydration. Food applications are primarily in bakery products and pasta.

Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein - Proteins can be hydrolyzed by enzymes (proteases) to yield low molecular weight polypeptides with increased solubility in water and improved functional properties such as foaming and emulsification. In the case of wheat proteins, both wheat protein concentrates and wheat protein isolates can serve as starting substrates for protease hydrolysis. The property of bitter taste is a common problem with hydrolyzed proteins, which can be remedied by proper choice of proteases, debittering enzymes and hydrolysis conditions. Typical food applications for hydrolyzed wheat proteins are in nutritional beverages and bars, as well as in baking applications to impart more extensible properties to dough systems.